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Copa America 2007: Opening Day


 

Diego shows Rio how it’s done.

Uruguay V Peru (KO. 11pm)

It’s late but will it be worth it? The curse of continental competitions; time difference. Tonight sees the opening game of the 2007 installment of the Copa America. Uruguay, predicted semifinalists in the tournament preview on this blog (see link below), should be looking to hit the ground running and make their mark on a tournament they have been threatening to win for a number of years now. The team, who are tied with Argentina with the most wins (14), have decided to leave out promising european based forward Carlos Bueno. The Sporting Lisbon striker, who was tipped by this blog:

 https://thefc100.wordpress.com/2007/06/19/the-copa-america-2007/

 to make an impression at the tournament, is an unexplained absentee in coach Oscar Tabarez’s final squad of 22. 

Tabarez, who said that his team would travel to the tournament with “a dose of optimism and humility”, will not be short of attacking options however with Forlan (Villareal), Estoyanoff (Deportivo La Coruna) and Recoba (Inter Milan) all vying for starting berths. Uruguay are the clear favourites in this group with the following tests against host’s, Venezuela and Bolivia. This should be an exhibition for the Uruguayans and their supporters.

Jefferson Farfan in action for PSV

Peru will do well to get a result in tonights game and will more than likely be aiming for damage limitation. They do have attacking strengths in PSV’s Farfan and Chelsea recruit Pizzaro, but can two players rescue the whole team? Doesn’t seem likely but they may fare better against the other two teams in the group. No squad news ahead of tonights game and it seems that coach, Julio Cesar Uribe, will have a full squad to choose from. Although that’s not saying much…

Prediction: Uruguay 2 – 0 Peru

Venezuela V Bolivia (KO. 1.15 am)

A football. Saying Venezuela. So there…

 The hosts begin their campaign against Bolivia and are sure to take a hammering. Home support may add a bit of flavour to this but in all honesty, Venezuela don’t have the squad to compete. I hope they prove me wrong because it’s nice to see the underdogs do well but I won’t be putting any money on it. Venezuela played their part in an exciting 4 – 3 loss to a Basque Country ix last wednesday. Their star and talisman, Juan arango, scored two of their three after coming on in the second half. This man, who plays for Mallorca in Spain will do well to cope with the pressure of being the player on which all the hope and dreams of Venezuelan soccer rests. Wow! Richard Paez, Venezuelan coach, has a full squad to choose from this evening which basically means that he can pick Arango and 10 others.

Jaime Moreno/ The Fonz

Bolivia should be raring to go for this one even though they are historically one of the weakest teams in the competition. I believe they have turned over a new leaf after seeing them play against Ireland in a friendly recently and have tipped them to join Uruguay in escaping the group. They drew 0 – 0 against Paraguay, traditionally seen as South America’s third team behind Brazil and Argentina, which isn’t a bad result at all. They also report no problems with their squad (unreal, no one has had any injuries or anything! Must be the South American “water”) and Bolivian coach, (wait for it) Erwin “Platini” Sanchez is likely to include elder statesman, Jaime Moreno, in his starting line up. 

Bolivia should win this one but football being football, you never know. Maybe being the hosts, Venezuela will pull one out of the bag or else they might crumble under the pressure. At least it will be entertaining!

Prediction: Venezuela 1 – 1 Bolivia 


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